Trekking across the street to cut down a Christmas tree from the tree farm was part of our holiday tradition each year. The Sunday after Thanksgiving was designated as the day we got our Christmas tree. We lived across from a Christmas tree farm so my father did not have to go far to cut down our tree; however, it seemed as if it always turned very cold and rained on that Sunday each year. I would beg, plead and pull his hands to get him off the couch, and away from the football games, to go cut down the tree. Now that I am an adult, I understand that while it may be fun and enjoyable, it also has its share of problems. One problem with having a live Christmas tree indoors is sap in the carpets. I always wondered what my mom was doing on her hands and knees on New Year’s Day scrubbing at the carpet around where the tree stood but now I understand completely. Thank goodness she taught me how to remove tree sap from carpets.
Alcohol – Before using this method, test a hidden area of rug to make sure that the alcohol will not discolor the carpet fibers. Once you determine it is safe to use, blot the sap with a cloth moistened with alcohol. Using another clean cloth, blot the sap up before the alcohol dries. Keep using clean sections of cloth to apply and blot the alcohol to avoid reapplying the sap to the carpet.
Dry Cleaning Solvent – This works much like the alcohol method. Test a hidden part of the rug first and if safe, blot the sap with the solvent and remove with another dry cloth. Continue to work in small areas until all of the sap is removed from the carpet. Dry cleaning solvent works especially well with stubborn sap stains.
Dishwashing Detergent – Apply a small amount of liquid dishwashing detergent to the sap (after testing on a hidden are of carpet) and scrub sap with a clean cloth moistened with warm water. Continue to scrub the sap with clean rags until all of the soap and sap has been removed. Make sure to clean the area with a clean, wet rag to remove soap residue because soap will attract dirt if left on carpet.
WARNING: I have been told by friends that they use mayonnaise to remove Christmas tree sap from their clothing. While this may work, I would not advise this for carpets unless nothing else works. If you do use mayonnaise to remove sap from carpet, clean the area thoroughly because any mayonnaise left behind will sour, mildew and create a much worse problem than the sap.
My wonderful mother who probably learned these techniques from sources such as: